Four Hillsborough County men have pleaded guilty to making and selling a boat paint that includes a banned chemical harmful to marine life, the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday.
The men worked for two companies that continued selling paint with the chemical after agreeing to phase out production by Dec. 1, 2005, authorities said. After the Environmental Protection Agency banned the chemical, the Clearwater-based New Nautical Coatings Inc. continued selling the paint to Sea Hawk Refinish Line, which then lied to inspectors about when the paint was sold, the Department of Justice said.
New Nautical Coatings faces up to a $500,000 fine and five years of probation. Company president David Norrie, 46, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of the plea agreement, the company agreed to implement an Environmental Compliance Plan.
Three other company members pleaded guilty to separate charges. They each face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Sea Hawk Refinish Linefaces up to a $200,000 fine and five years of probation.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 5.